Freedom Tower will row on people, architect says
NEW YORK – The architect of the skyscraper that will replace New York’s Twin Towers has advice for those who might not like the design: give it some time.
“It will be something that will grow on people,” David Childs said on Wednesday of the 1,776-foot (541-meter) Freedom Tower under construction at the site destroyed by the September 11 attacks. “This building will not become dated over time.”
Childs, speaking to reporters invited to tour the building site, said he recognized the great expectations for the project, which has yet to rise above ground level and is due to be finished by 2011.
He also described feelings of nervousness and adrenaline in taking a job that would come under world scrutiny.
“The gift I got was in a way very therapeutic for somebody who actually saw the second plane hit the building,” said Childs, a partner in the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP who works near the site.
After master planner Daniel Libeskind unveiled his vision for the Freedom Tower as a twisting trapezoid meant to evoke the Statue of Liberty, Childs took over the design and simplified it according to limits imposed by budget and security concerns.
Some critics lamented the loss of grandiosity from the Libeskind design. Childs said the new design was better in part because of its simplicity.
“We want people to look at it and say, ‘What a simple, perfect answer,”’ Childs said.
Like each of the old Twin Towers, the Freedom Tower’s base is a 200-foot by 200-foot (61-meter by 61-meter) square. But instead of a lattice of steel, the exterior will be all glass, including prisms placed over the concrete blast walls that will rise some 200 feet from ground level.
Rather than maintain the Twin Towers’ box, the exterior walls will be formed by eight very tall triangles that from some angles will reproduce the exact profile of one of the Twin Towers but from other angles will reveal a tapered top.
The main structure and a parapet will rise to the Twin Towers’ heights of 1,362 and 1,368 feet, from which a sculpted antenna will top out at 1,776 feet (541 meters).
“I think it will be the picture postcard that one will get at the airports, as were the original towers,” he said.